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Instant Goddess: Fab Fashion Picks from Marks & Spencer, Delish Holiday Recipes and More!

Family LifePost Category - Family LifeFamily Life

Deck the halls with boughs of Marks & Spencer stuff!

Yes..I’m still singing away to myself here at Instant Goddess HQ. This week, whilst stocking up on Marks and Spencers’ Christmas goodies, I couldn’t help but notice and in fact be pleasantly surprised by some of the clothes currently in store. Here are some of my favourite picks, and as always it’s a bit hit and miss finding good photos of M&S items… so bear with me!

Limited Collection Collar Paisley Print Blouse $499
You might not be ready to go all over print crazy, but this shirt would look fab with black pants.

Autograph Black Pencil Skirt $TBC
A perfect work skirt and one that will stand the test of fashion seasons to come. 

Autograph Sequin Pencil Skirt with New Wool $749
This is an interesting take on the sequin skirts that have been so prevalent in the shops. Due to its woollen structure, it holds its shape and just looks classier and more elegant that a lot of its sequin counterparts.

Mini Stud Embellished Shirt $499
A twist on a classic shirt with mini stud embellishments on the collar and cuffs.


Slash Neck Long Sleeved Fringed Tunic $479
Drapes nicely and is kind to your curves if you have them!

Autograph Leather Suede Zipped Jacket $3950
This is also available in black, but I am loving how bang on trend this purple number is… not only embracing the leather trend but also embracing the colour of the season.


Limited Collection Nehru Collar Embellished Blouse $599
I had to resist not popping this in my basket as it ticks all my boxes: simple and elegant… but oh the embellishment!

Boat Neck Art Deco Lace Tunic $649
Great teamed with black jeggings and my fave M&S’s 5 pocket stretch jeggings… which are back in stock by the way!


This week Andrea Clark, Creative Director, of The Mandarin Salon at Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong gives us the Lo-Down.

Having just seen the remarkably glamourous and fabulously fit 40+ J.Lo live in concert recently, I have come back to the salon inspired to create those caramel tones of J.Lo’s hair. The Ombré technique of colouring has been around for a while, worn by the likes of Rachel Bilson, Jennifer Biel and Drew Barrymore. So, has it died? I think not.

Ombré is when hair colour is darker at the roots and fades out to lighter ends. If subtle, it looks fabulous. However, if an obvious line is seen between the roots and the mid-lengths, then it just looks like you have a re-growth. The reason it looked so good on “Jenny from the Block” is because she has such lush, thick hair. Anyone with fine hair may unintentionally create the illusion of flat, unloved hair if they go with this colour technique.

For ladies with finer hair, I have the answer. There are fun clip-in pieces of hair in many shades that, when hidden just under the surface of your part, give a great colour flash with volume and movement. As we know, J.Lo also loves high pony tails and high buns, which look sensational if the hair is thick and voluminous (but a bit sad if they don’t have these two aspects). We at The Mandarin Salon have the most amazing phony ponytails that blend beautifully because they come in many different colours. I wear one almost every day and nobody ever suspects that it is not my hair.

I am not knocking fine hair; I have fine hair, myself. I simply want to share the many different ways you can achieve a look just like J.Lo’s, regardless of your hair type.

We can’t have everything but we can work with what we have!


Midweek meal inspiration

While looking for some mid week meal inspiration, I stumbled across this little gem: Christmas in a Glass by Nigella Lawson, and I thought why not, let’s have a cocktail to kick off the proceedings. Believe me this will not be the first time these words will be uttered over the festive period!

Christmas in a Glass

4 parts chilled Prosecco, or other fizzy dry white wine
1 part gingerbread-flavoured syrup

Pour the Prosecco into wine glasses. Top with the scented syrup (1 bottle of Prosecco should give 5 glasses)

Canapes part II

By popular demand, it’s canapés part deux. As they were so well received last week, I’m giving you a second helping and that’s your lot for Christmas!

Prosciutto & stracchino rolls

Makes 12. Lay 12 prosciutto slices on a board. Take a 100g piece of stracchino (or other soft creamy cheese), then spread some at one end of each prosciutto slice. Top the cheese with a few wild rocket leaves, then roll up to enclose. Chill until ready to serve.

Prawn & chorizo skewers with gremolata

A firm family favourite and a match made in heaven… Prawn & chorizo. Say no more. Full recipe here

Cheese and bacon puffs

Good Housekeeping comes to the rescue again with this superb combo. Pictured above with Salmon Pinwheels featured last week. For the full recipe for Cheese and Bacon puffs click here.

Mustard and parmesan cheese straws

These are so easy to prepare and always a knock out success with my guests! Recipe below: courtesy of the legendary Mary Berry, a great British cook.

Makes about 40 straws (or 16 long ones)

1 x 375g (13oz) packet ready rolled puff pastry, approx 35.5 x 23cm (14×9 in)
50g (2oz) Parmesan, grated
2-3 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg beaten
Preheat oven to 220c/425f/Gas 7. Lightly grease 2 baking trays or line the trays with non-stick baking paper.

Unroll the pastry on a floured work surface and spread mustard over the top. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan, salt and pepper. Cover with clingfilm and, using a rolling pin, roll the cheese into the pastry for a few minutes. Remove the cling film.

Divide the pastry in 4 widthways and cut each section into 10 strips about 1cm (1/2 in) thick for each straw. Twist each straw and place on the prepared baking trays. For extra long cheese straws, cut the pastry in half widthways and divide each section into 8 strips, about 2.5cm (1in) thick.

Glaze with the beaten egg and bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes. Cook for longer if required. When the pastry is cooked through and golden brown, remove from the baking sheet and cool on a cooling rack.

Tip: these can be made, cooked, cooled and then packed in a covered container and frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw for about 15 minutes at room temperature. Refresh in oven preheated to 200c/400f/Gas 6 for a few minutes to regain their crispiness before serving.

Yogi tea saying of the week: It’s not how fast you go. It’s that you stay the distance that matters most.

Instant Goddess saying of the week: An Instant Goddess always stays the distance.



Instant Goddess will be back in the New Year, until then it’s goodbye and Happy Holidays! XX


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